Date: 30 Sep 2010

How Well Understood Are the Processes that Create Dendroclimatic Records? A Mechanistic Model of the Climatic Control on Conifer Tree-Ring Growth Dynamics

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Abstract

We develop an observational and conceptual basis for modeling conifer cambial processes as a direct but nonlinear and multivariate response to external environmental conditions. The model, here termed Vaganov–Shashkin (VS), reproduces the critical features linking climate variability to tree-ring proxy formation. We discuss recent test simulations of tree-ring width data from a variety of sites and spatiotemporal scales. Our experiments demonstrate that the model skillfully reproduces observed patterns of tree-ring growth across a range of environments, species, and scales. Model performance is found to be robust to parameter estimation. We discuss present and future applications of the VS model, including exploration of the biological basis of emergent phenomena and prediction of the influence of climate change on conifer tree growth dynamics.